How much money Australians really need to be happy

Australia has long been described as the ‘Lucky Country’ and, for the most part, we are a relatively happy bunch, but according to the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index our happiness is closely tied to how much money we have. Let’s take a look at what makes Australians tick when it comes to money and happiness.

A man needs money

Despite the fact that Australian men continue to earn significantly more than women (averaging $62,699 versus $40,312 per year) it is still not enough to keep the average Aussie bloke happy. While Australian women only need an annual income of $15,000 - $30,000 to be happy, Australian men require at least $100,000!

The cost of a happiness boost

Not surprisingly, the amount of money it takes to boost our levels of happiness varies depending on how much we have already – the more money we have the harder this becomes. Those with an annual household income of less than $15,000 experienced a significant jump in happiness when their income rose by $6,000. However, those earning $151,000 - $250,000 require an extra $156,000 to enjoy a similar boost.

Money can’t buy you love

Both Australian men and women are happy with far less money if they are in a relationship, as long as it is one in which they feel supported. Aussie couples only need a combined $31,000 - $60,000 to be happy although a little extra clearly helps, as couples making $150,000 and up were found to be the happiest people in Australia.

Does debt get us down?

Being in debt doesn’t seem to bother the average Australian, in fact, the larger the debt the happier we are! Australians who have loans of over $200,000 are not only happier than those with far smaller debts, they are even happier than those who are debt-free. This likely reflects the fact that larger debts are often held by those who own their own home, an asset well known to make us happier.

Single parent satisfaction

Australian parents need a little extra money to be happy, especially those who are raising kids alone. Single parents with an annual income of $30,000 are typically less happy than the average Australian, regardless of their gender. It is only when their income hits the $61,000 - $100,000 range that Aussie single parents reach the average level of happiness.

Location matters

Finding the money you need to be happy is easier in some parts of Australia than others, with the highest average wages found in the Australian Capital Territory ($60,987), Western Australia ($57,365), and the Northern Territory ($54,082). But interestingly, the residents of Melbourne and Brisbane were found to be the happiest in Australia, proving that there is more to happiness than just higher earnings. It is hard to be happy when you don’t have the money you need to get by, but it seems that Australians have very different ideas on how much is enough. If you could use a little extra cash, the following tips on how to make money will help.

5 ways to make extra money

These days there are plenty of easy ways to boost your income, many of which don’t require much time or effort at all. Here is a brief look at some of your best options.

1. Rent your spare room

If you have even a small spare room at your place and don’t mind a guest staying the night, renting it out can be rather lucrative. For best results, spruce up that room so that it looks it best, take a few decent photos and advertise it on sites such as Stayz or AirBnb.

2. Downsize

Selling off some of your belongings can be a great way to clear some space as well as boost your income. Whether you hold a yard sale or advertise on sites like Gumtree or the Trading Post, let go of those items you no longer need and turn them into cash instead!

3. Do surveys

You can make a surprising amount of money just by sharing your opinions on sites such as Survey Compare and My Survey. Most surveys only take a few minutes to complete, there are a wide range of topics and payments range from cash to gift cards to special promotions.

4. Become a secret shopper

If you love to shop one of the best ways to make money is by working as a secret shopper. Tasks can include things like comparing prices and taking photos through to trying out products or services – Australian secret shopping sites include Retail Mystery Shopping Australia and Get Paid To Shop.

5. Sell your photos

Amateur photographers willing to sell their photos can make a small fortune online. Simply join one of the many photo selling sites – such as iStockPhoto or Fotolia – add your photos and you will be paid a royalty fee every time someone uses one of your images.